Want to know why so many of us are overweight? It could simply be a matter of eating too much and moving too little
Compared to twenty or 30 years ago, so many more Canadians are now either significantly overweight or obese, an “epidemic” increasingly hitting other areas of the world as well.
Obesity and Weight Gain Contributing Factors
Most experts agree that genes are unlikely to play much of a role in this comparatively sudden change, so that leaves us with this: our rapidly rising weights must be due to recent changes in our environment or how we live.
Experts have proposed several different potential culprits, such as a sharp decrease in the amount of sleep we’re getting, our over-consumption of diet drinks and “low-fat” foods, or environmental pollutants, perhaps even infections.
All those factors may (and some undoubtedly do) play a role, but for me, the simplest and most responsible explanation is this: over the last few decades, we have chosen to eat way more and move much less than our parents and grandparents once did.
Products of our Environment
According to a lecture delivered at the recent prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting by professor William Leonard, who specializes in the diets of civilizations throughout history, “our growing rates of obesity [are mostly due to the fact that] populations of the industrialized world live in environments characterized by low levels of energy expenditure and abundant food supplies.”
In other words, most of us live in a world where there’s lots of food readily available, on top of which most of us are not moving nearly as much as our forebears used to.
Eat Less, Move More
So the next time you run across a miracle guaranteed to help you lose weight — some hormone, a magic berry eaten in large quantities by natives in South American jungles where no one is fat, some miraculous machine that helps you lose weight while you just sit and think about exercise — just remember, the simplest secret to losing weight for most of us is just to take in less and move more.
Sorry to be the bearer of such tough news.
Dr. Art Hister is a medical writer and health analyst for Global TV.